Posted 25 November 2014

Research suggests that the human voice supports the automotive industry

automobile image

After suffering the consequences of the international economic crisis, the situation of the car sales industry in the U.K. has appeared to brighten up: boosted by the more affordable credits made available, sales are increasing and have passed the 2 million mark in October; an unequalled performance since pre-recession 2007.

This development can be explained by the introduction of new financial deals, as it is said that nearly four out of five of the new car purchases are paid on credit in the UK*, and this approach seems to work: 179,714 new car registrations were counted for the month of October 2014, a considerable increase by 14%* in comparison with the same period last year.

The actual growth may be optimistic, but is not due to last; sales are predicted to hit 2.46 million* in 2014 – a return to the pre-recession levels – before slowing down throughout 2015. Partners Andrews Aldridge estimated that at the moment, 150,000 people in the UK are looking to buy a car each month: the demand is here, so where are the purchases? How can this positive trend be supported, in order to maximise the impact of the present growth?

The automotive industry is a highly competitive market, and here, understanding who the customer is and what they want to buy is key, as a clear view of the customer’s journey can make the difference between a brand and its competitors. In the past, buying a car was a fairly simple process: witnessing the latest ad on TV or in print, visiting the nearest distributor, test driving and purchasing. However, since the introduction of the digital tools, the typical customer’s journey has deeply changed.

An AutoTrader.com study from last year found that new and used buyers spend 75% of their car research time online, while Google stats suggest that these customers take an average of 2.7 months to decide on a purchase. Additionally, 38% of consumers said that they will consult social media before making their next car purchase, while 23% of car buyers use social channels to talk about their experience when making a purchase.

Our research into the power of voice in the customer journey found that Internet is not the only touch point that should be considered. Indeed, the customers do value the power of the human voice, with 53% of people valuing speaking to someone to verify that they have correct information when researching for high-value purchases (even if they do all their research online). Although there isn’t a huge difference, another interesting fact is that women seem to need more reassurance than men (55% vs 50%).

The voice can be the link to customers’ loyalty in this highly competitive industry and the phone call gives opportunities to build a special link with the potential customers: indeed, 50% of people would feel more confident about purchasing a high-value product if the operator was someone they could relate to or someone who bought a similar product.

The direct consequences of a successful contact with the customers vary depending on the gender: 29% of the male respondents would be inclined to make a decision faster, but for 27% of the females, their loyalty to the brand would be strengthened, and would therefore be likely to recommend to others.

 You can read our full whitepaper here to find out more about how voice is the new relationship milestone.

 

(* stats from the SMMT (society of motor manufacturers and traders)

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